Who will defend the LGBT organization in Kurdistan?

Source: Müjde Tozbey Erden, “Kürdistan’da LGBT derneğini kim savunacak?” (“Who will defend the LGBT organization in Kurdistan?”) Sol Portal, 19 September 2014, http://haber.sol.org.tr/yazarlar/mujde-tozbey-erden/kurdistanda-lgbt-dernegini-kim-savunacak-97415

[The Van Attorney General’s Office has moved to disband the Van Youth and Ecology Association (Van Gençlik ve Ekoloji Derneği) on the grounds that the Association’s bylaw to “support sexual orientation” is against morality as determined by the Article 56 of the Turkish Civil Code.]

[Update: The court has ruled that it is not “contrary to morality” for Ekogenç to be active in the area of sexual orientation.]

You might have heard of the establishment of the Van Youth and Ecology Association [Van Gençlik ve Ekoloji Derneği] in our region. “What does this Association do?” you may have asked. The association works on several matters, but one of its primary goals is to lend support to individuals regarding their sexual orientations.

According to Article 2 of the Association’s code, “The Association may form alliances with, become a member of, work in solidarity with, and provide financial and moral support to local, national, and international and cultural and academic associations and/or associations working in the fields of women, refugee, asylum seeker, ecology, humanity, youth, children, sexual orientation as it sees fit by following relevant legal procedures.” [sic] Under the “Activities” heading, the code states that “The Association pursues activities in the fields of life, organic agriculture, climate change, rural development, education, culture, social politics, art, gender, discrimination, poverty, refugee, asylum-seeker, youth, children, the disabled, sexual orientation.” [sic]


“It is difficult to say I am Kurdish and Gay!”

Source: İpek İzci, “Kürdistanlı Bir Eşcinselim Demek Zor!,” (“It is difficult to say I am Kurdish and gay”) Radikal, 22 October 2013, http://www.radikal.com.tr/hayat/kurdistanli_bir_escinselim_demek_zor-1156541

There is a new LGBT entity in Turkey: Hêvî LGBTI. The activists of Hêvî talk about the first and only Kurdish LGBT association in Istanbul…

“The experience of sharing during the Gezi Resistance, that solidarity, and people truly embracing each other made us hopeful for a humane and mutual life,” says Asya as she explains why they named the first and only Kurdish LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex) initiative in Istanbul as Hêvî LGBTI. “Hêvî” is Kurdish for “hope.”

Hêvî LGBTI Initiative was founded by a group of friends who met in the LGBT Block during the Gezi Resistance. They established the initiative formally on 1 September 2013, coinciding with the World Peace Day. However, the real founding day is 22 September 2013 when the manifesto was declared. One of the activists, Asya, is from Diyarbakır, the others are from Mardin, Siirt, and Van… But, it would be wrong to assume that Hêvî LGBTI Initiative is composed only of Kurdish people. Hêvî LGBTI Initiative concentrates on geography rather than ethnicity. There are Turkish activists among them as well.


Hêvî LGBT Initiative Announced its Foundation

Source: Kaos GL, “Hêvî LGBTİ İnisiyatifi Kuruluşunu İlan Etti,” (“Hêvî LGBT Initiative Announced its Foundation,” 22 September 2013, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=14853

Hêvî LGBTI Initiative: “It was necessary to form an entity in Istanbul that can call out to Kurdistan and so here we are.”

Hêvî LGBTI Initiative announced its foundation on September 22, 2013 by holding a press conference. The initiative’s manifesto was read both in Turkish and Kurdish. Hêvî announced that its main working issue will be “the specific problems of Kurdish LGBTI people living in Turkey.”

“The contribution of LGBTIs to a stable peace is responsibility”

Hêvî Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) Initiative announced its foundation by holding a press conference at the offices of the Democratic Congress of People (HDK) Beyoğlu District Organization. Hêvî activists Asya Elmas, Rosi Da, Mehmet Umut, Ceylan and Cem Emre Gutay led the meeting. Cem Emre Gutay and Asya Elmas read the initiative’s manifesto in Turkish. The manifesto states that the initiative was formed by a group of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex people who met at the LGBT Block in Gezi Park during the Gezi Resistance.

The word Hêvî is “hope” in Kurdish and Hêvî aims to create and spread hope among LGBTI people.